THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM
Effect of Environment Upon Judah's History. Compared with the history of the northern kingdom, that of the southern, for the first two centuries following the division of the empire, was petty and insignificant. Judah was shut in by its natural barriers from contact with the larger life that surged up and down the coast plains and through the broad valleys of Northern Israel. While it survived, the northern kingdom protected it largely from Aramean and Assyrian invasions, so that during this period there were few great crises to call forth statesmen and prophets. Jerusalem, because of its size and prestige, completely overshadowed the other cities of Judah, so that most of the important events in the history of the southern kingdom took place in or near the capital. The natural unity of this little kingdom also freed it from the diverse and disintegrating influences that made Northern Israel's history one of civil war and bloodshed. The result was that until Jerusalem's destruction in 586 B.C. the family of David, practically without interruption, continued to sit on the throne of Judah.
Shishak's Invasion. In 945 B.C. the throne of Egypt was seized by a Libyan mercenary by the name of Sheshonk, known to the biblical writers as Shishak. He set to work at once to restore the ancient glories of the empire. To this end he invaded Palestine and Syria and, according to the records which he has inscribed on the great temple at Thebes,(106) he succeeded in capturing one hundred and fifty-six cities and districts. The cities lying along the Philistine Plain, including Socho, Ajalon,